Vahl, Herbert-Ernst

    Date of birth:
    October 9th, 1896 (Posen/Westernprussia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    July 22nd, 1944 (Greece)
    Service number:
    SS Nr. 430 348
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Herbert-Ernst Vahl was born October 9th, 1896, in Posen.
    In 1914 he joined 7. (Westpreussischen) Infanterie-Regiment. Janaury 8th, 1915 he was selected for officer's training. During World War One he served on the River Somme and near Verdun. In 1916 as well as in 1917 he got injured and was awarded the Verwundetenabzeichen (Medal for the Injured) in Black and in Silver. He was also awarded the Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) 2nd and 1st Class.
    After the First World War he remained in the new Reichswehr, being employed as a teacher in various military schools and he served with 14.Kompanie, 16.Kavallerie-Regiment in Berlin. After the seize of power by the Nazis, he was appointed Kommandeur II./Panzer-Regiment 4/2.Panzer Division.
    When war broke out in September 1939 he became Oberstleutnant, Kommandeur Panzer-Bataillon 65 / 6. Panzer-Division. With this unit he participated in the campaign against Poland. As Kommandeur of Panzer-bataillon 101 he participated in the campaigns in France, the Balkans and the invasion of the Soviet Union. From July 1941 onwards, he was in command of Panzer-Regiment 29 / 12. Panzer-Division. By order from Berlin, he transferred to the Waffen-SS on August 1st, 1942 and was given command of the SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 and in 1943 he was put in command of the SS-Division "Das Reich", participating with this unit in the campaign on the Eastern Front. At the end of 1943 he was named Inspekteur Panzertruppen / SS Führungshauptamt but he returned to the front in July 1944.
    Herbert Vahl lost his life in Greece on July 22nd in an accident with a motorcycle. At the time he was Kommandeur 4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division in the rank of SS-Brigadeführer / Generalmajor der Waffen-SS.

    Promotions:
    January 8th,1915, Leutnant;
    April 1st, 1925, Oberleutnant;
    February 1st, 1931, Rittmeister;
    November 1st, 1936, Major;
    February 1st, 1939, Oberstleutnant;
    December 13th, 1941: Oberst;
    August 1st, 1942: SS-Standartenführer;
    February 10th, 1943: SS-Oberführer;
    April 1st, 1943: SS-Brigadeführer / Generalmajor der Waffen-SS.

    Career:
    1914: 7. (Westpreußischen) Infanterie-Regiment;
    ?: Teacher Military school;
    ?: Chef 14. Kompanie / Reiter-Regiment 16, Berlijn;
    ?: Chef Kradschützen-Kompanie;
    ?: Kommandeur II. / Panzer-Regiment 4 / 2. Panzer-Division;
    September 1939: Kommandeur Panzer-Abteilung 65 / 6. Panzer-Division;
    May 1940: Kommandeur Panzer-Abteilung 101;
    July 1941: Kommandeur Panzerregiment 29 / 12. Panzer-Division;
    August 1942: Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 / 2. SS-Panzer-Division „Das Reich";
    February 10th, 1943 – March 18th, 1943: Kommandeur 2. SS-Division "Das Reich";
    1943: Inspekteur Panzertruppen / SS Führungshauptamt;
    July 13th, 1944 – July 22nd, 1944: Kommandeur 4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur Panzer-Abteilung 65 / 6. Panzer-Division
    Awarded on:
    October 12th, 1939
    Details:
    Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 27th June 1915.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur Panzer-Abteilung 101
    Awarded on:
    July 13th, 1941
    Details:
    Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on 30th April 1918.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 29 / 12. Panzer-Division
    Awarded on:
    July 21st, 1941
    Details:
    Silver version.
    Panzerkampfabzeichen (ohne Zahl)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 29 / 12. Panzer-Division
    Awarded on:
    November 17th, 1941
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Oberführer
    Unit:
    Kommandeur 2. SS-Division "Das Reich"
    Awarded on:
    March 31st, 1943
    Action:
    Vahl's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows.

    "Within the framework of the operations of the 4. Panzer-Armee from the 18.02 — 06.03.1943 SS-Oberführer Vahl led his subordinated SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Das Reich" in a furious offensive battle over 350 km under the most difficult leadership conditions. It was repeatedly necessary to redeploy the Division in the shortest possible time, but even so he destroyed the opponent wherever he encountered it.

    The Division was almost always at the focal point of the attack for the entire operation. The successful results for the Division's effort owes much to the energy of SS-Oberführer Vahl, who through his presence at the head of the attack and his multiple independent decisions influenced the pace of the attack and the final outcome decisively."
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

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